Deepen Civilian Understanding of Veteran Experiences at CSUN

October 20, 2023

By: Teagan Davidge

A collection of 20 pieces from Ohio-based “The EVAC Project: Experiencing Veterans and Artist Collaboration” was displayed in California State University, Northridge’s (CSUN) West Gallery early this semester.

Framed prints of many assorted styles lined the walls, each paired with an excerpt from an interview with a Veteran who served from World War II through Iraq and Afghanistan. The artists involved created these prints as interpretations of the stories, in hopes of shedding light on the variety of military experiences. 

Marco Hernandez, Wisdom While Saving Angels, 2018.

Marco Hernandez, Wisdom While Saving Angels, 2018.
Intaglio, serigraph, 9 x 6 inches. Collection of EVAC Project.
Image courtesy of CSUN Art Galleries.

“The real purpose of the project is to recognize that most people are really disconnected from what military service is like. Experiences with conflict typically happen in other parts of the world,” said Holly Jerger, art galleries director. “The project was meant to create a space of understanding and empathy so that Veterans could have an opportunity to share their individual experiences.”

The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication showcased an assortment of printmaking techniques through the artists’ designs, including etching, mezzotint, relief, engraving and more. There were multiple interpretations of oral retellings, painting a picture of the distinctly different narratives present and aiding in the connection process.

“I think the plural of experiences is really important. Kind of like all experiences, there is no one Veteran experience,” Jerger said. “I think that it’s a really wonderful project because of how it layers all these communities and experiences together.”

Veterans Resource Center Manager Mayra Plascencia agrees that the project has bridged the divide between two groups that are not commonly associated with each other: Veterans and artists.

“It definitely introduces the Veteran community to people that are more familiar with art, or only familiar with art, and not really close to the Veterans,” said Plascencia. “It gives an opportunity for two different communities to merge, so that’s really nice.”

Although the display of this collection ran from Aug. 28 to Sept. 26, CSUN Art Galleries are to host two more artist talks in relation to “The EVAC Project” and printmaking. The first talk with Sonia Romero will be held Nov. 2 from 2 to 3 p.m. The second, with Hilary Lorenz, will be held Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to noon. Talks will be located in the CSUN Art Department, Purple Crit Room, AC 300.